Ham and Cheese Bread Braid

In January we marked our Tenth Year Anniversary of Gluten Free-ism.  This was not a decision we made based on research and conviction.  No!  It was one born of necessity.  Sweet Baby Girl was diagnosed with Celiac the day she turned 2 1/2, after months of searching for an answer to her horrible stomach pains and tummy troubles.

I had never even heard of Celiac Disease, and had no idea of the changes that lay ahead for our family (as well as extended family and friends).   The Doctor told me that a very strict Gluten Free diet must be followed from that day hence.  He told me about support groups, books, websites, and research centers.  He told us that Sweet Baby Girl would never out grow the condition, and due to the malnutrition that is common for Celiac patients, due to poor absorption, she would never be over 5 feet tall, and she would never weigh more than 100 pounds.  (She is 5′ 3″ and hit 100 about 6 months ago.  She is above the curve for height and just a wee bit under for weight.)  Amazing Boy was diagnosed with the same Gluten Intolerance at 4 1/2  years old.  At the time he weighed 24 lbs.  He caught up with the growth chart when he was 8 years old, and is also doing very well.

Ten years ago, Gluten Free didn’t look anything like it does today.  There were no GF cookie, cake, bread or pizza crust mixes at the grocery store.  We bought the flours and blended them ourselves, based on trial and error.  (Boy, have we made our fair share of errors!  Yikes!)  I thought if I took the wheat whatever off of the food, she would be fine to eat it.  Like taking the toppings off of a slice of pizza, or bread off of a sandwiches.  (Was I ever wrong!)  We learned very quickly that ANY amount of gluten was very harmful for our girl.

I LOVE a challenge.  Cooking GF was a challenge.  And, 10 years later, I am happy to say I LOVE GF cooking. It is so great to have a reason to buy healthier foods for the fam.  It is wonderful that we make things from scratch that taste better than anything we could buy ready-made.  I love Love LOVE that my girl enjoys cooking as much as I do, and that she can cook GF all on her own.  She can interpret and re-write a recipe.     The kids read every label of every food that goes into our shopping cart.  They ask for ingredient lists when we eat out  (It is SO much easier to cook and eat at home, which is a totally different blog on being frugal. HA!), and make educated decisions about their food.

We love to get creative.  Recipes are merely the blank canvas, and our cooking art takes over from there.  Baby Girl had a great business idea a couple of months ago:  we are going to go to people’s homes and teach them how to set up a GF space in their kitchen, build a GF pantry (of food, not out of wood!), and cook good GF food.  We are looking into what we need to do in order to start that.  Pictured here is one of our creations.

This lovely creation is our (soon to be famous) Ham and Cheese Bread Braid.  It has a total of 2 lbs of meat and cheese:
Ham, Roast Beef, Turkey, Swiss and Provolone cheeses, grainy mustard, mayo and our own sweet and tangy spread.  All of this is wrapped in Gluten Free dough, brushed with oil infused with italian spices, and baked to golden perfection.
Those who are Gluten Free by necessity love this sandwich because of the full flavor. Those who are not on a GF diet, are surprised that this sandwich is Gluten Free.  The texture is pleasant and not grainy and crumbly.

There are so many different dietary needs running around today.  I am really thankful that our bane is Gluten.  I can handle that.



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